Oh, we will go anywhere just to get a good meal. But how exactly do we find the best restaurants in the country? Checking out which has been awarded Michelin stars is a good start.
Yes, a guidebook from a company that manufactures tires is the bible of restaurant connoisseurs. Michelin is a French tire maker based in Clermont Ferrand. To get people to go on road trips, they started reviewing restaurants in different places in 1900. They then grade the food based on its quality, technique of preparation, and consistency and personality of the meals. Anything not directly related to the taste of the food, such as the way the table had been set up or the design and decorations of the interior, are not included. Three stars are given to those that reach the highest standard.
Michelin has awarded stars to a lot of restaurants all over the world. In the United States, a total of 130 restaurants garnered the distinction in 2012. Here are the top ten Michelin star restaurants in the United States.
10 Alinea, Chicago
This restaurant opened its doors in 2005, but under its owner and head chef Grant Achatz, it has quickly made a name for itself. Taking its name from the alinea symbol, the restaurant is known for its technique of preparing your meals, as well as its deconstruction of classic flavors.
9 Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York
For once, a New York restaurant outside the Manhattan borough got three stars from Michelin. The restaurant has only 18 available seats all clustered around the table of the chef, Cesar Ramirez. The menu is inspired by Japanese dishes, though the food served are French, English and Italian. The meals feature simple and fresh ingredients. There is a waiting time of six weeks for those who want to reserve a seat at the Chef’s Table.
8 Daniel, New York
Daniel Boulud owns different restaurants in New York, but the one bearing his name is considered the flagship brand. Located at the posh neighborhood of Upper East Side in Manhattan, the menu features contemporary food inspired by ingredients of the season. Boulud’s acclaimed new French style of cooking has resulted into meals that have been described as perfection on the plate. The restaurant also boasts of a top of the line wine list.
7 Eleven Madison Park, New York
Eleven Madison Park is a unique restaurant based in Manhattan. It does not have the standard a la carte menu usually available in other restaurants. Instead, guests are given a card that has a grid of 16 ingredients printed on it. The staff then takes into consideration the ingredients that a guest likes and dislikes, and designs a meal based on this information. The Swiss head chef, Daniel Humm, will then prepare the meal.
6 French Laundry, Yountville
Each day, Thomas Keller, the owner and chef of French Laundry, prepares and serves a couple of tasting menus consisting of nine courses. None of the courses share the same ingredient, ensuring a unique taste every step of the way. The food served is usually French, though contemporary American influences are noticeable. Thus, included in the menu are such items like frog legs on a stick. The restaurant is located in an old 1900 building that is part of the National Register of Historic Places.
5 Jean Georges, New York
At the lobby of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in 1 Central Park West is a classy French restaurant named after its owner, Jean Georges Vongerichten. It is considered as one of the top five restaurants in the entire North America. The chef, Mark LaPico, is known for his signature dishes that include hamachi and yellowfin tuna, sea scallops, roasted squab with foie gras, and lamb loin.
4 Le Bernardin, New York
Le Bernardin was actually started in 1972 by its owners, Gilbert and Maguy le Coze, in Paris. The couple then moved to New York, taking the restaurant with them. Eric Ripert then took over as chef after Gilbert passed away in 1994. Since then, the restaurant has been known for its Japanese bluefin tuna, which they proudly claim to be raised in a sustainable manner, escolar, and Kobe beef. The restaurants desserts are also pretty popular, especially the creation of their pastry chef, Michael Laiskonis, in which chocolate is served with a sprinkling of sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.
3 Masa, New York
One of the most expensive restaurants in the world, it is a Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi. Masa began operations in 2004 under its owner and chef, Masa Takayama, and is located at the Time Warner Center in New York City. Takayama makes sure to prepare the food himself, using fresh, seasonal and exotic ingredients. The Kobe beef, as well as most of the fish served, are flown in fresh from Japan. Takayama also uses a generous amount of truffles in his meals.
2 Per Se, New York
From the owner of French Laundry in California, this restaurant is also owned by Thomas Keller and is also located at the Time Warner Center in New York City. For his East Coast offering, Keller has handed the keys to the kitchen to Eli Kaimeh. Guests can choose from two fixed-price items in the menu, either a vegetable tasting menu or a chef’s tasting menu, both of which consist of nine courses. If you so prefer, foie gras and truffles can also be added at a premium.
1 The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena
The Restaurant at Meadowood is the restaurant of choice when you are in Napa Valley. It is an American restaurant that aims to have a positive impact in the community by utilizing a modern approach through the use of local and sustainable ingredients. Christopher Kostow is in charge of the kitchen, though the individual preferences of the guests are taken into heavy consideration through the restaurant’s bespoke and customized meals.